Google & ActiveSync, Microsoft & CalDav: Pure irony

Android_robotToday Microsoft announced plans to implement CalDav and CardDav support in Windows Phone. That will enable users to still sync with Google services once these shut down their ActiveSync support in Summer. That is highly ironic and almost ridiculous, since Google itself does not support CalDav and CardDav in Android.

It all started with Google’s Winter cleaning: Google announced a couple of weeks ago that their services will soon be no longer offer an ActiveSync interface. That means: all client devices accessing Google’s services via ActiveSync need to switch to some other way of synching. Btw., read carefully: this has nothing to do with Android. Not at all! Also, iPhones don’t have to bother because they can simply switch to CalDav and CardDav which is natively supported in iOS. However, id does affect users of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. They only had ActiveSync as an option.

Now Microsoft announced they are going to implement CardDav and CalDav support in their Windows Phone. So that users can happily sync their Windows Phones with Google services.

And here comes the irony: Google itself does not support CalDav nor CardDav on client side. Google’s Android operating system does not offer it, not at all! Google only supports its own, proprietary sync way used in the Google apps, and has support for ActiveSync, albeit pretty limited support.

So, to summarize: Google forces others to use open standards which they do not support themselves.

While it is good that Microsoft is forced to implement open standards, Google’s acting nevertheless looks ridiculous, that is just sad. I wish Google would have the guts to just add CardDav and CalDav support and have a party with the people fighting for open standards. I mean, how bad would it look like if a Microsoft operating system would support open standards better than a Google operating system?

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25 thoughts on “Google & ActiveSync, Microsoft & CalDav: Pure irony

    1. keithzg, you are right: it can nowadays export documents to odt and spread sheets to ods. The ODF presentation and drawing formats are still not supported, but at least some support is there. Thanks for pointing that out, keithzg.

    1. Philip, thanks for the feedback. Good to know that I am not the only one who complains ;)
      Btw., the CalDav support can nowadays be added with pretty good 3rd party packages. But yeah, native support is still something entirely different!

    2. There are 3rd party CalDAV/CardDAV apps for Android, but to my knowledge none of them is free software or open source.

    3. Martin, that is also what I found out so far. But as mentioned in one of the linked articles, the best known CarlDav/CardDav app for Android has good chances to be open sources in the future.

  1. Sad indeed. Had to install 3rd party apps (CardDAV-Sync beta and CalDAV-Sync beta) to get this functionality on my android phone.

    1. Is it really a lock-in? I thought you could terminate your account and _export all data_ which is not really a lock-in concept the way I understand the term.

      I will agree that the primary reason probably is to get more users of their services, because it is the users that indirectly gives them income. However, without license income Google probably has no large interest in locking users to their services. An unhappy, non-paying user will probably whine so much it is better to not have him/her as a customer.

  2. Not to defend Google, but I would imagine that Google’s main point is to terminate the support for a proprietary protocol that has to be licensed from Microsoft.

    1. Kjetil, of course the motivation behind the step is about license costs and maybe about power. But nevertheless, the irony described above is there, don’t you think?

  3. Is there an advantage of an abstracted and RESTful API, over a native protocol exposure?

  4. Google is a corporation like Microsoft and Apple are. Its not OSS company. Its not OSS friendly either. Its even worst!

    Microsoft and Apple develop products and sell them for price and make billions. While Google acquire OSS projects, brand them as their proprietary product and give away it for free! The catch is, they add privacy sniffing modules in those products before making them public, so the more you use their products, they more accurately they profile you and sell off your profile to highest bidder. There is no other way that you can make zillions of bucks by doing straight advertising business, given every product is free of cost!

    So yeah beware of Google’s habit of harvesting user data and sharing it with THEIR trusted parties (not mine not yours!).

    People often confuse Google’s openness with open-source-software community. In my experience the real OSS guys regard Microsoft more than Google, to their contributions in the domain of Computer Science and Software Engineering. Google happens to be a luckiest goon that people trust so much and happily letting them ripping off their privacy!

    1. I don’t think that is an appropriate description. Google does push quite some open source projects: chromium, Android, even the Jingle library and definitions for XMPP are from Google. Also, they do have the summer of code which is a great opportunity for many Open Source projects.

      I fail to see where Google does acquire Projects and brand them as their own – what are you referring to?

      However, there are problems with Google’s perspective towards Open Source projects: they dropped XMPP support in favor of Hangout, which is proprietary. Also, they are not incorporating real caldav support as mentioned above. Thus, right now Google seriously lacks support of open standards and technologies.

      Google’s way of treating user data is entirely different, but also remarkable story, of course…

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